“I got drugged last night.” Jane whispered to me. I nearly dropped her coffee. “What?” I hissed at her. Jane got here earlier than I am. I should have guessed by looking at the expression she gave me when I got here. Jane pretended to look for change in her purse while talking to me. “Look, I had no idea. I know I should have been careful, well I screwed it, okay. Anyway I have already sent the names of the people I went out with, ask Ivy to inform me as fast as possible.” I nodded at her. “Please tell me you remember what happened last night?” I asked as I punched in the amount of money on the machine. “Luckily, I do. I can’t tell you the whole story. The important thing is I think I found one of the guys that might fall in our radar.” I raised my eyebrow in question but Jane didn’t continue further. The line behind her is growing and Mr. Patrick, my boss keeps on throwing glances at me. I smiled at the girl behind Jane. She gave me a hollow look, great in need of caffeine I guess. “And?” I asked Jane in a low voice. She thought for awhile what to explain and then said, “Nothing much. Later.” She took a few steps away but stopped abruptly. She turned and leaned forward and said, “And I think he knows I’m not a student.” Then, she left the shop. I stared at her back in shock. What? Somebody already know? How could she leave after saying that? I wanted go after her but Mr. Patrick and my dear customers’ glare seized me.
I tap my spycell’s screen one more time and sighed, for the million time this afternoon. No calls. No messages. I have no idea what’s going on and I don’t like it. I know I should play my part but there’s nothing much I can do in the day. The club will only open up at night and this coffee shop only operates until midnight. How am I supposed to spy on the club if it’s only half the night hours that are available? The shop is almost empty. I guess not many people favor to hang out at the coffee shop in the noon. I was only required to work eight hours here so I had to insist Mr. Patrick to let me work extra hours. He agreed when I told him he don’t have to pay for extra hours. Good for him. I grabbed the wet cloth and went to the round table at the corner. I threw away the two paper cups and then started to wipe the table. The only thing I hate about this job is cleaning. Other than that, I loved it here, simply for the coffee aroma in this shop and I get to drink three cups a day for free.
A guy walked in the store, demanding my attention. I looked up and he smiled at me. He wanted to say something but stopped at the sight of me. “Yes?” I asked him, walking back to my counter. He stood against the counter. “Are you new?” He asked me. He was as tall as Ray but he has a huge frame. His hair is probably shoulder length long. He tied it neatly in a pony tail. His eyes were dark as the night sky. “Yes, I am.” I answered politely. I guessed he’s a regular customer. He placed both his hand in his black jean pockets and studied me with a small smile playing on his lips. “Uhm.” I cleared my throat on purpose. He didn’t utter a word or stop staring at me. “Coffee?” I asked him pointedly. He stated, “You know, the guy before you, that worked here never take my orders, he knows and he always prepare it exactly this hour everyday and hand in to me without a word.” I smiled at him once again and told him, “I guess that won’t work today. Mr. Patrick is not here as well so I think you have to give me your order.” “Of course, miss?” He waited for my answer. “Anna.” “I’m Zach.” He extended his hand and I shook it. “Why are you alone?” He asked me further. I try to recall some of the shop’s details and remembered. There used to be two boys working here. “I’m replacing both of them.” He nodded. “This must be tiring, to work all by yourself.” He told me. “Not really that tiring.” I shrugged. “What happen to the guys?” He questioned me again. I have no other choice but to answer his questions. “They went back to their hometown. Something personal came up.” I told him and started to wipe the coffee counter, pretending to be busy. “How do you know that?” He went on. I almost sigh, “I’m their cousin.” That’s the story Mr. Patrick received before I even arrived but honestly I have no idea where the two boys went. “You haven’t place your order.” I stated. His smile grew, “Give me whatever you like.” He told me.
“Seriously?” I had no idea whether he’s joking or serious. “Totally.” “I thought you had your special preference or something like that.” I asked him in confusion. “I don’t mind today, Anna. So what’s your favorite coffee?” He asked me. “Black coffee.” “Make that two.” He told me. I poured the coffee in the two cups. I picked up the marker, “Names?” “Zach.” I scribbled that down and then took another cup, “Anna.” I wrote the first letter and stopped. I know I shouldn’t question about the name to my customers but I have doubts, “For me?” He flashed his perfect white teeth at me. “Yup.” “But why?” I get free coffee anyway. Of course I didn’t mention that. “I want to have coffee with you.” He told me. “Are you asking me out?” I blurt out. “Damn right, I am.” He answered cheerfully. I stared at him, didn’t know how to respond. It’s not every day I get to asked out especially from a hot hunky guy. “I have to mention this, you are adorably cute, Anna.” He told me after awhile. I could feel my cheek reddened. I got my senses back. I giggled awkwardly, “No, I’m sorry. I’m working here. I can’t have coffee with you just like that.” I told him. Right on dot, Mr. Patrick walked in the shop. “Hello, Mr. Patrick.” Zach greeted him and then grabbed his cup. “So I guess we will go out during your break tomorrow.” He called out as he backed away. “What? No, I’m not free.” I told him. “See you.” Zach waved and left. Mr. Patrick gave me thumb up with a full smile before going back to read his newspaper. Just then, I remembered, I was here yesterday at this hour so whatever Zach said about getting his coffee at this hour everyday was not true. He tricked me. I scowled at my counter table.
I finished all the mopping and wiping inside the shop before seven. As soon the club was open, I purposely clean the mirror and sweep the entrance. I only stay in when there’s a new customer. Mr. Patrick went to the back room and stayed in there, probably having his dinner. This is this only club in this area so it gets packed fast. I could identify a few familiar faces today. The same ones, that came to this club yesterday. The music blasted out from the building. It’s almost midnight when my last customer leave. I lost the track of time because I was trying my best to keep an eye on my neighbor. It’s not easy because I have no idea exactly who I’m looking for. It’s like a looking for a needle in a haystack kind of scenario. I know Jane and Naomi would be having the same trouble, where to find answer when there is no clue or hint in the first place. I locked the shop and handed the key to Mr. Patrick. An old man walked past us to the club. I tried to get a good look at him because he looks familiar. I have seen him before. He didn’t take notice of me. I followed him to the club but I was stopped by a tall muscular guy. He looked at my apron and the coffee shop cap on me. He shook his head as in, ‘you’re not allowed in here,’ way. I reluctantly stepped back. I walked back outside and saw a couple. The one I saw last night, a tall brunette and a sandy blonde male. Both of them wore a stern look as they walked in the club. The guard didn’t stop them. I didn’t waste any more time at the street. I rushed back to the apartment.
Ivy was chewing potato chips while staring at the laptop on the table. “How was your work?” She asked me after I dropped my body on the old couch. “Very interesting.” I answered in my long voice. Ivy’s interest pricked. She came and sat on the couch opposite mine. “What happened?” I sat up straight and looked at Ivy. “What did Jane told you?” I asked the first thing that had been playing in my mind the whole day. Ivy shrugged, “She didn’t say anything. She just sent me a message to find out about a few students.” Her eyes light up at that. “You found out something didn’t you?” I guessed. “Nah, nothing concrete but I think Jane is with the right people.” Both of us grew silent. If it’s true then I am relieve that we are on to something in our second day itself but I also have a very unsettling thoughts about Jane hanging out with possible criminals. This is dangerous. “So what is it?” Ivy didn’t answer me but went to her laptop. She started clicking and then she explained, “She sent me a few names and I only found three of them suspicious.” I went to stand beside her as she went on. “This three peoples’ papers are not convincing, something like ours. From what I have gotten here, Tyra Donovan and James Matthew are from the same high school which does not exist. The other one is Joe Moby. His documents are perfect but not until I checked on his background. I can’t find anything except his college papers. It’s like there is no any document dated other than for this year.” “How can you be so sure?” I asked her. “I hacked the college and the relevant authority websites so I don’t think I missed out anything. But of course I will re-check the whole thing once again tomorrow.” Ivy clicked open the files. I recognized the girl and one of the male. “I saw both of them.” I stated, pointing at their pictures on the screen. “Today?” Ivy asked me. “And yesterday.” I told her. “When and where?” “The club. Both of them were at the club at this hour yesterday and today.” I informed Ivy.
Something clicked on my mind, “If Jane was with them last night at the house then how come I saw them at the club?” I wondered out a loud. Ivy frowned at me in confusion. I briefed her about Jane’s dangerous night out story. Ivy was dumbfounded to hear that. “How about Naomi?” I asked her as I picked out my spycell. “No news so far but she’s in the college campus.” Ivy stated. Ivy can easily monitor our location by keeping an eye on our GPS tracker or she could track us using our spycell. She had a small window showing three red dots in a map on the screen. I speed dialed Jane and she picked out in the first ring. “Jane, can you talk?” I asked her. “Yeah, I’m in my room.” Her voice was low. “Jane, you received the files Ivy sent you?” “Yes, I did. Anything else?” I leaned against the window and stared at the huge building at the front. “I saw Tyra and James at the club last night. What time did you came back? Were they with you the whole time yesterday?” I questioned her. She paused for a moment before answering. “They went missing. I didn’t see them when I was leaving that place. Why were they at the club when there is a private party at home?” She asked me. “We need to figure that out.” I stated. “We have to. Fast.” She said in a determined voice. “Be careful.” I said to her and hang up.
I couldn’t sleep that night. I stayed up all night, reading the new files Ivy organized in a folder. Ivy went to bed. She was constantly working in front of the laptop. She needs a break. I was trying to connect the dots between the little clues we have so far. Nothing made sense. My mind was also keep on flashing the image of an elderly man I saw at the club entrance. I knew I have seen him somewhere but I couldn’t recall. I forced myself to stay focus and started to look for anything that would remind me of him. I know once again looking for something without any heads up is ridiculous but this is the only thing I want to do right now.